Include a pass/fail grading option for Ontario Secondary Schools (2019/2020 school year)

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Stephen Lecce, Ontario's Education Minister, has made the decision to continue the 2019/2020 school year with a numerical approach to grading. This decision does not take into consideration the added stress that students are experiencing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many students are responsible for taking care of younger siblings while their parents fulfill their roles as essential workers. Some students have essential jobs themselves - a majority of those students with jobs are employed by grocery stores, big box retailers and other service companies. In an already stressful period, we do not need numerical grades adding to that stress. 

The more compassionate decision is to include an option for high school students to continue their school year with a pass/fail approach to grading. If students choose a pass instead of a numerical grade, that course will not be included in their overall average. Students will remain dedicated to their distance learning programs without worrying about the impact that online education will have on their average. This distinction gives students more time to focus on what is truly important during such unprecedented events - spending time and taking comfort in the arms of loved ones. 

While it is clear that this pandemic impacts everyone, many senior students are experiencing a more intense form of worry. We have worked very hard to obtain specific averages for post-secondary endeavours, and it is unfair to assume that we can maintain these grades in an entirely online format. Since distance learning is the safest method of education right now, we humbly ask the Ontario Provincial Government to introduce the option of a pass/fail approach to grading.